2018 -A Year In Review

Around the end of 2017, I created this blog post looking back on what I had accomplished that year. Thanks to creating that post, I realised that, while I had made some progress, there was a lot of ground left to cover. Looking back on 2017 gave me the impetus to push harder during 2018.

Now, I would like to invite you to look back over 2018 with me. Overall, I’m fairly happy with the progress I made this year. I wrote more than the number of blog posts I aimed to, and also completed a very significant goal for myself and my illustration career – I got onto MA Illustration at Falmouth University.

The achievement of this goal is very important for me because it signals a transition to seeing learning about art and improving my illustration techniques as an investment, and my path in life. Also, getting on to an illustration course filled with people from other walks of life all over the world who are also focused on illustration, has helped to give me some confidence in my work and my abilities, and place my work in context.

Regarding other goals, my main successes were in the area of social media. In 2017 I had 17 followers on Instagram, which increased to 100 as of the writing of this post. I also increased the readership of this blog by posting more consistently (thank you, my friends!). I went from a miserable 2 blog posts in 2017, to 47 in 2018, a big increase, which makes me very happy. This, in turn, contributed to an increase in site views; from 676 in 2017 to nearly 4000 in 2018. Again, for the big fish out there, these numbers are small. But for me, they show a marked increase in my online presence, and the payoff for a significant amount of time and work put in.

A winter sprig in watercolour

My goals in regards to illustration are more nebulous and difficult to measure. My work reached more people and I noticed that friends and family now often talk about art or illustration-related topics with me – it is beginning to take a place of prominence in my life and how people relate to me.

However, I still do not have a shop and am not really looking forward to navigating the process of printing my art to sell. Printing has posed difficulties for me because there are so many possible ways to go about it, plus up-front costs for buying materials for packaging etc are a little off-putting. All in all, I was so daunted by the whole process that in the end I never put in the time required to get any kind of shop off the ground in 2018. This will be a particular challenge for me to overcome in 2019, and I hope to make significant progress in this area.

In 2017, I was happy with my progress in the area of YouTube. I had made 7 videos and was starting to see some interest from the kind people of the internet. However, my aims for YouTube in 2018 remained largely unfulfilled. I made only three videos in 2018, but the time involved made me less and less keen to make them. I also struggled with adopting a light, conversational persona as I tend to get nervous filming myself. This is why, for 2019, I have set the goal of creating 12 videos, or one a month. I also am hoping to make the process slightly less labour-intensive, and a little more enjoyable, with a strong focus on documenting the creation of my work. We shall see…

Some cards I made for Christmas 2018

Lastly, I had also made far more money from my freelance endeavors in 2018 than I had in 2017 (which was zero!). However, rather than from illustration, the income had been from the other area areas of Ottilia Scribbles – mainly writing and translation. Whilst I am thrilled that anyone would choose to employ me for my skills in this area, I am also a little disappointed that, for whatever reason, there is no one really interested in my illustration as of yet. Reasons I can think of are – 1. I did not target my work enough; 2. My portfolio does not contain enough work; or, 3. I am not well known enough yet. I think there are a myriad of reasons why people struggle to get their first payed commissions, but I figure that consistency, quality of work and good self-promotion should solve this problem in time.

For now, let me close out 2018 by thanking everyone who has read my blog or visited this site, and wishing you all continued health, happiness and good luck in all your endeavors in 2019. ~Thank you! ☆彡

Santa enjoys a well-deserved cake and tea after a busy day.